Saturday, December 22, 2012

Blue Santa and the Riot Squad

Original plans had been to go to Koblenz and see the Rhine castles (Marksburg in particular) today but we’ve had 3 fully days of sightseeing and it was raining so we decided just to have a lazy morning and then go to Mannheim in the afternoon.

Nadja had told us the shopping there was great, and it was another Xmas market to visit to add to the decorations collection.  The train from Worms to Mannheim is quick and goe several times an hour so that was easy.  Our limited German now extends to recognising the sign that points to the city centre from the train station.

We got a coffee (and paid the 2euro deposit to keep the cup) and wandered through the markets in search of someone other than Kathe Wolfhart selling glass decorations.  I’ve been on the lookout for a Nutcracker that was not dressed in red and luck was with me.  I got a little blue nutcracker and a glass snowman with a purple hat. 

We rounded a corner in the markets and came face to face with Santa … dressed in blue and accompanied by a very pretty blonde angel.  Seems it wasn’t really Santa but a guy promoting a local mobile phone company!

Keen to check-out the shopping, we headed down into the shopping area.  Typical of German cities we have visited so far, the central strip is generally car-free (Mannheim has trams running along the street but no cars) and it is lined with lots of boutique style shops rather than big malls.  We found some more xmas stalls and grabbed a bite to eat and began to notice a build-up of police men wearing what was certainly riot gear… shin/leg guards, body armour and carrying helmets and batons.

Ignoring Tony’s suggestions otherwise, I asked one what was happening.  Seems there was some kind of demonstration by the local branch of the anarchist party.  The coppers were taking nothing by chance and there were hundreds of them lined up all along the street.  The march went by in a couple of minutes – a bit disappointing actually!

Back to Worms and by now it was raining, 4 degrees but too ‘warm’ to snow.. bugger!  Dinner at home with Lauren tonight … she was free till 7.30pm when her babysitting services were required as Nadja & Christoff were going out.  The benefits of renting a flat rather than staying in a hotel room are that you can cook your own curry, open a bottle of wine and entertain your daughter.

Oh, and we put up our Christmas tree.

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